By Paul Branton, Director of Investor Services for Home Rental Services
Take a quick look around your house and I bet it won’t take you long to find a smart device meant to enhance the usefulness and convenience of your home. As I’m sure you’re aware, there are some really great devices out there. Everything from smart locks, garage door openers, doorbells, thermostats, alarms, outlets, light bulbs and even appliances! With the average US household now having over 20 connected devices, I would wager you’ve got at least one (or five!)
In my house, we have the garage door openers, doorbell, camera and thermostat.
My favorite for the longest time has been our thermostat, but more recently it’s the video doorbell and camera that I’ve appreciated the most. I thought the garage doors were really cool at first, but over time the appeal of opening an app on my phone to operate the doors wore off. Call me old school, but the keypads work just fine for the kids, visitors, deliveries and everyday access when the remote/clicker isn’t handy.
Having smart devices does not necessarily make for a better rental property experience.
We’ve seen everything from the smart locks, lights, alarms and thermostats and more often than not they only create confusion and problems for both the tenant and property owner.
Over the years, it seems the worst offender we continue to see are the WiFi thermostats and the Nest thermostat in particular. When these “smart” devices are in properties that may experience a lapse in power or internet connectivity, they have sometimes “reset” and ended up with completely wrong settings or turned off entirely. For obvious reasons, that’s not good for anyone involved, especially if the house happens to be vacant at the time.
The other two items we run into often are smart locks and doorbells.
While these do not have the ability to create as much havoc as a thermostat, they do create challenges from a rental standpoint. As it relates to locks, we (as the management company) want to know we have keys that will always work and not all smart locks provide a physical key option. With regard to the doorbell, those are more a matter of preference and not everyone is going to want to set them up or pay any associated fees for using them.
So… if you’re going to rent your home and it has a WiFi thermostat, smart locks or a smart doorbell, please consider swapping them out for the basic options. You, your tenant, your HVAC and your property manager will appreciate “dumb” appliances that just work!
Paul Branton, Director of Investor Services